Compassionate Release During COVID-19

By Jonathan Blecher on April 29, 2020

Compassionate release is requested when terminal illness, advanced age, sickness, debilitation, or extreme family circumstances outweigh imprisonment. The coronavirus pandemic puts prisoners at a high-risk of exposure to the disease, meaning they have an increased chance of contracting it.

Because of this, I am motivated to do everything in my power to fight for a compassionate release on behalf of your loved one. It is not a settling thought knowing that a high volume of inmates are confined to a small space, which is the opposite of what they need during this time.

Thanks to The First Step Act of 2018 (FSA), however, prisoners can directly petition courts for compassionate release. Contact me online or call 305-321-3237 to learn how I can help your loved one navigate the process of seeking relief.

Why Current Prison Mandates Aren’t Good Enough

On March 31st, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced that effective April 1, 2020, all prisoners will be placed on a 14-day lockdown in their assigned cells as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prisoners will be allowed to leave their cells during this period for certain reasons, such as attending programming or to shower and use the phone. This plan is now extended through May 18th.

These measures are not safe. How can we feel confident that BOP employees and guards are following safety precautions to protect inmates? Prison structures are built to confine inmates, making it nearly impossible to practice adequate social distancing and sanitizing. To add to this, inmates have limited access to personal hygiene and medical care, which is the last thing they need in the midst of a pandemic.

How I Plan to Fight for a Compassionate Release

As a successful defense lawyer, I will exhaust every resource and tactic needed to convince a judge that your loved one qualifies for compassionate release. Several guiding principles help decide whether an inmate gets relief.

Exhaustion of administrative remediesAdministrative remedies are imposed to allow an inmate to seek formal review of an issue relating to their own imprisonment.

  • I can guide and advise your loved one through the process of effectively exhausting administrative remedies to increase their chances of relief. This includes helping draft a compassionate relief petition.
  • There is likely a longer waiting period due to the high number of relief requests at this time, which is unacceptable to me. I will do everything in my power to prevent your loved one from waiting 30 days to be addressed.

Government consent: This is important, but not essential. This factor involves your loved one securing government consent to grant their relief. Since government representatives have a duty to conduct their work in a principled, fair and consistent manner, it is best that you hire me to ensure they carry out those responsibilities for your loved one.

There are cases in which the government denies motions for compassionate release, but the court may approve anyway. Thus, your loved one may get a compassionate release.

  • As a highly regarded criminal defense lawyer, I know what it takes to convince the law that my clients deserve a better outcome. You can count on me to investigate your loved one’s case details and request your prison records to examine ways in which I can fight for government consent on their behalf.

Types of health conditions: Courts typically grant a compassionate release for those experiencing significant respiratory issues, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and Crohn’s disease which leave inmates immunocompromised, or other high-risk health problems. Courts also look at whether your loved one has a medical condition which, when combined with COVID-19, would jeopardize their survival.

  • I can analyze your loved one’s medical records, history and supportive documents to strategize the best ways to convince a judge that relief is necessary to prevent severe harm or death to your loved one.

Presence of the virus in the facility: If your loved one is imprisoned in a facility in which another inmate did, or currently does, have COVID-19, then the courts will more than likely grant relief. Even if the inmate who had the virus recovered, it could still be present and quickly spread to others.

  • Once you retain my representation, I can call on experts to help me carry out an investigation of the prison facility to detect any history or current presence of the virus. Even if I can prove an imminent threat of COVID-19 in the facility, your loved one may have a better chance of seeking relief.

Date motion was filed: There is no correlation between the timing of the motion’s filing and its likelihood of success. The increased spread of COVID-19 hasn’t resulted in a higher success rate for inmates seeking relief.

  • I can urge the BOP to speed up the process of determining your loved one’s compassionate release. By arguing that your loved one’s request needs immediate attention for the sake of their health, there may be a better chance that the BOP handles your loved one’s request sooner.

Jonathan Blecher, P.A. Can Fight for Compassionate Release

Various steps and requirements must be met in order to be considered for compassionate release. The process for relief is complex and tedious, which is why you need my aggressive, experienced defense to work in your favor. I will dedicate my attention and skills to help your loved one seek the safety and relief they deserve.

In order to have a chance at success, I strongly urge you to contact me online or call 305-321-3237 as soon as possible to get started on negotiating for relief.

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